If you've ever found yourself planted in the dentist's chair, you've undoubtedly heard the word fluoride. In addition to being a part of the care and treatment your dentist provides, fluoride is also found in water and many oral hygiene products. While common, many people don't really understand what it is and more importantly, just how important it is to their oral health.


Fluoride is a mineral compound that is typically found in both soil and water. There are also some foods that contain fluoride. Cucumbers, pickles and spinach are just a handful of them. This compound works to fortify your teeth. Fluoride helps ward off incidence of tooth decay by making your teeth more resistant to attacks from acids and bacteria.

Each time you eat or drink, small bits of bacteria and acid enter into your mouth; this is a natural process. However, when these two substances interact with one another, they slowly deteriorate the surface of your teeth. The fluoride works to strengthen your teeth and keep them protected, so that any attacks from these substances are unsuccessful.

Fluoride Treatments

An effective way to protect your teeth with fluoride is to have a fluoride treatment performed. This treatment is very short and painless and can typically be completed during a visit for a regular cleaning. The process generally begins with the hygienist or dentist drying your teeth.

The drier the surface, the better the fluoride will adhere. Next, the fluoride is applied with a device that looks similar to a paintbrush. In some cases, the solution might be placed inside a mouth-guard for you to wear. After application, you are required to give the fluoride time to set. During this period you don't eat or drink anything.

Increased Risk

While fluoride is important to the health of everyone's teeth, there are some people who may need to look more closely at their fluoride intake. Individuals who are taking medications that cause dry mouth, people who wear braces or if your gums have pulled, or receded, away from your teeth you need to speak with your provider. Each of these scenarios can increase the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Keeping your teeth safeguarded in this case becomes essential.

Good oral health begins with you. Make certain that you are getting the level of fluoride you need to keep your smile bright and healthy. Speaking with a dental provider like Ellsworth & Day DDS can help you determine your particular needs.